Overview: Skidmore's Liberal Studies program was adopted in 1984. The first courses in the program were given in 1985. The program consists of four components. The first component is a team taught course entitled "The Human Experience." This course examines issues of human existence, using interdisciplinary perspectives, primary readings and a format that combines large group presentations, small seminar discussions, and special events. It is taken by all first year students during the fall semester. The other three components are "Liberal Studies II: Cultural Traditions and Social Change," Liberal Studies III: "Artistic Forms and Critical Concepts," and Liberal Studies IV: " Science and Society." The Liberal Studies II, II, and IV components use specially constructed courses from which each student chooses one course . . .
Program Goals: There are three major goals of the liberal studies program. First, we want Skidmore's students to develop cognitive skills. These include the ability to analyze, write, solve problems, read critically, and synthesize new ideas. We are particularly interested in developing the skill in approaching issues from interdisciplinary perspectives. We believe that the ability to adopt different points of view, to understand issues using a variety of methods, and to generate comprehensive ideas is critical. For this reason, all Liberal Studies courses are interdisciplinary.
A second major goal is an understanding of what it is to be human, including a consideration of the nature of the human organism, the nature of the products of human activity, and the world in which humans find themselves. . We therefore have our first course as an explicit study of the human condition, and have other categories that focus on such human creations as social institutions, art and literature, and science.
A third goal is to understand the various disciplines of human thought and their problems. We want each student to have some experience with the sciences, social sciences, visual and performing arts, literature, and mathematics. This experience with a variety of disciplines supports the general interdisciplinary focus of the program and provides students with knowledge of the various ways that people try to understand themselves and the world around them. LS I: The Human Experience. Authors include: Angelou, Pierce, Bloom, Konner, Plato, Descartes, Freud, Marx, Langston Hughes, Sartre, Skinner, Watson and Crick, Hansberry, and King.
LS II: Cultural Traditions and Social Change. One course from a list of courses constructed to examine change in a society over time. An example is "Poverty in the United States: 1900 to Present."
LS III: Artistic Forms and Critical Concepts. One course including direct experience with an art form and an examination of that form. An example is "Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Union of Minds."
LS IV: Science and Society. Once course examining a scientific development and its interactions with the society in which that development took place. An example is "Science, Technology and National Security."